, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1729-1737
Date: 09 Jan 2013

Shear wave elastography in the evaluation of rejection or recurrent hepatitis after liver transplantation

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To determine whether shear wave elastography (SWE) would be useful in evaluating the presence of rejection or recurrent hepatitis for post-liver transplantation (LT) follow-up.


This retrospective study was approved by our Institutional Review Board and informed consent was waived. Two hundred sixteen liver recipients and 37 liver donors received SWE and concurrent liver biopsy. Of the liver recipients, 142 patients underwent SWE > 4 weeks after the LT (group 1) and 74 patients underwent SWE ≤ 4 weeks after the LT (group 2). Liver stiffness (LS) was compared among groups of donor, no rejection, acute rejection and recurrent hepatitis.


In group 1, LS was higher in patients with rejection or hepatitis than in patients without rejection or indefinite rejection (12.29 ± 8.13 kPa vs. 6.33 ± 2.10 kPa, respectively, P < 0.001). In group 2, there was no difference in LS between patients with rejection (n = 8) and those without rejection (n = 61; P > 0.05). The liver recipients without rejection or hepatitis in both groups showed significantly higher LS than the liver donors (P < 0.001).


SWE may be used as a non-invasive complementary tool to detect rejection or recurrent hepatitis at follow-up > 4 weeks after the LT.

Key Points

Shear wave ultrasound elastography may be useful at follow-up after liver transplantation

Rejection or hepatitis can be predicted >4 weeks after liver transplantation

Normal liver grafts are stiffer than normal liver.